Can you trust the Cabinet

Although essentially made to hold documents the ornamental cabinets made for the courtiers to Louis XIII were really displays of wealth and taste, being enriched with inlays and appliques of rare stones, marble, fine paintings  and gilt metal mounts upon the multitude of small drawers often concealed by sometimes deceptively plain doors.  Traditionally, the very centre had a secret compartment wherein the owner would hide his latest treasured purchase, either from a Grand Tour excursion or a trip to the London Docks where Solomon de Medina would be off-loading a fresh consignment of intricate pieces of jewellery from Augsburg or miniature items of gold and pearls from Italy or Spain. Such a jewel would go  into the cabinet compartment which was lined with mirrors to enable the object to be seen from every angle, and the floor painted to simulate a tiled surface, often in such a way as to make the space look larger.  Such furniture was in complete contrast to that made by the craftsmen of England. They were joiners producing 'joined' work, ceilers making panelling for the walls of rooms and the tester or ceiling over the four post beds, and carpenters.  It was another hundred years before the craft and name cabinet maker appeared in English records.  By the end of the 17th century this had coincided with the development of clear glass for windows which enabled cabinets being produced with glazed doors and thus  display the wealth of the owner by the showing to all and sundry the treasures inside the piece rather than the decoration on the outside. Back on the Continent the established form of cabinet, which might be made to sit on a table or if larger it would have its own stand, remained in vogue and the owner continued to secret his latest objet d'art inside the hidden tiny central room.  Indeed it was his 'Cabinet Piece' and he would show this latest acquisition to only his closest and most trusted friends.   They were his 'Cabinet Friends' and that is the origin of the term  Cabinet in government.